How they've (mis)handled this will be studied by business and PR students for years to come.
(not agreeing with anything that they did, just looking at it from a PR perspective)
I am, for one, moderately optimistic looking at the Western counter-outrage and people ditching Blizzard. We need strong and widely held convictions to defend our basic liberty. Coming from the former Eastern Block, I can easily imagine what is it like to have an unfree government convincing the world that we want to live under its "protection", applying material pressures and pseudo-patriotic propaganda to make it appear so etc. If clumsy Chinese silencing play will trigger more popular defensive reactions, it's good. And in economy, historically totalitarian regimes can be extremely good in catching up (see Stalin's industrialization), not so good in outrunning.
I hope this really hurts blizzard. To many people value playing the game than protecting rights, let alone rights of other people.
Heck, Titan was under development for years before getting cancelled without any sort of big announcement.
I could be wrong -- it's just that this always seems to have been the sentiment on the forums I frequented.
I doubt it. The internet has a very short attention span and online activism is pretty much useless.
This has exploded from "a random employee in our China office posted to our blog and social media and the die-hards are mildly upset" to an existential threat. It's a disaster. (Oh what I would give to see those meetings and emails.)
Remember that only 12% of Activision Blizzard's revenue comes from Asia/Pacific, with South Korea a notable member of that group of countries. China isn't actually a big deal for them right now. Although there is huge growth potential there; 1.4 billion potential Blizzard gamers... now might be the best time to walk back, see what happens, and capture that market later. They can afford to.
Long story short: you need to demand congressional action, and lead an actual political change. That includes a plan to vote come next year (who to vote for, who to support, etc. etc.). Anything less will be largely ignored, just like Occupy Wall Street.
> and with that shaped countless people's ideas on society and class.
And it doesn't matter unless those people vote in greater numbers than their opposition. Society is moving against the Occupy Wall Street principles that were laid out almost a decade ago.
Anyway, it's curious how much this "online chicanery is what got Trump elected" meme appears, despite its obvious falsehood. I wonder whose interests are served by that?
Did you miss how she sold American uranium interests to Russia?
Did you miss how Russia worked with her campaign to prepare the Steele dossier, i.e. how Russia worked with the Clinton campaign to prevent Trump from being elected?
Did you miss how the Obama administration (in which she was Secretary of State) worked with Russia, how Obama was caught on-mic telling Medvedev to tell Putin that Obama would have more flexibility after Obama was reelected?
These are all widely reported facts.
It's bizarre how people still think Russia wanted Trump to win the election.
I kind of doubt that. With potential billions on the line, losing a few protesting players and face isn't anything to worry about. They have plenty of people hooked playing their games so they don't have much face to lose.
If they are, that's a far bigger issue for Blizzard than a handful of angry American players.
> that's a far bigger issue for Blizzard than a handful of angry American players
In fact Activision Blizzard only has 12% of revenue from Asia-Pacific . The vast majority is from the Americas and EMEA . The west should have a bigger say on Activision Blizzard's business, not China or South Korea.
The whole thread is a gem. Boils down to bribes and subsidies. He's taking a huge risk by making it public.
It's definitely prior knowledge. They either didn't care or are grossly incompetent.
The trouble that Blizzard has is walking back this decision could put their employees in China in danger.
It really depends on their goal. Reading the Chinese gaming forums, everyone is praising Blizzard for their “fair” stance and saying they will spend more on them.
So if this actually helps their bottom line, Blizzard’s actions could be studied as a master stoke on how to deal with geopolitical PR.
Just like when the Delta flight crew forcefully removed that doctor from the airplane. Or a Starbucks employee calling the police on black people waiting there.
By the time PR get's involved, it's too late.
This is one crucial vulnerability of many companies in today's world, any low level employee can generate a huge PR disaster by just not being smart enough to see the bigger picture.
So basically today you need every employee to be trained like a world class PR agent.
The military of many countries recognise this, recognising the concept of the 'strategic corporals'  
That's the lesson Dolores Umbridge inadvertently taught us in Harry Potter # 5.
It's free to watch here: https://southpark.cc.com/full-episodes/s23e02-band-in-china
I'd be surprised if it wasn't one of the biggest episodes in South Park history. And certainly the most viewed episode in China, haha.
This cosplayer was a finalist and the competition in question removed her over it.
When I first encountered it this morning my thought was that she ultimately wins because she's getting exposure that she never would have gotten before, and most people aren't ridiculous.
The riots in Hong Kong saved the CPC. The people in Mainland China were already starting to get upset at the government because of how the trade war was affecting the economy. The implicit contract being the people won’t rebel if the economy is good.
Luckily for the CPC, the Hong Kong riots came along and now the government is able to use that as an excuse to bolster patriotism.
So naturally they need to be “tough” on the NBA, Blizzard and any other company so as to not lose the people’s support.
I'm afraid we may have entered an era where outrage machines in China effectively dictate market access. Senators, Prime Ministers, Premier's, and Presidents will be powerless to stop it. (Well, short of shutting the outrage machines down.)
Of course there's nary a peep about Blizzard.
I'm about to do a thought experiment here. Only a thought, I'm not accusing anyone of anything. But just consider, what sort of messages would sock puppets controlled by, say, CBA teams be throwing into the Weibo Outrage Machine on the subject of the NBA? You say, "Well the NBA is likely doing the same", and I'd probably agree. Point is though that this is a new era really in public manipulation.
Think along those lines and you can kind of get an idea how these outrage machines around the world can be far more powerful tools than any government.
Talk to a few Chinese immigrants and you will know.
The younger Chinese generation grew up in an era of Chinese economic boom and are the benefactors of the efficiency in decision making that came with a more top-down (dictatorial if you will) government. The younger generation is much more focused on economic well-being and safety over liberty or freedom.
So as long as China can maintain the economic growth it's been having the past two decades, the Chinese public will by and large support the government.
This is perfectly reasonable when you consider it a personal decision. Sure, trade away some of your freedom for better economic well-being.
But how do they justify this when their personal economic well-being requires trampling the freedom of other people?
By that logic, would pro-China people would support China going to war with and taking over other countries if it brought them "economic well-being"?
(edited to make the last statement more clearly a question since it's something I'm genuinely curious about.)
There are 3 great evils in China: terrorism, separatism and extremism. HK/Tibet/XinJiang/Taiwan are not economic issues but security ones. People balance prosperity for security everywhere. The west sees HK as a large pro democracy movement, the Chinese see's this as fringe separatist violence by 0.001% of the population. They see HK as Chinese alt-right getting bold undermining domestic serenity: disenfranchised, social media savvy, economically anxious youth who see their culture being displaced and their privileged being eroded by mainland immigrants. They're acting accordingly.
"Hello, I am the CEO of a company located in a fully autonomous province that does not pay taxes to the PRC?"
What security interest is served by censoring discussion of the existence of Taiwan?
This is a political issue, not a security issue.
Taiwan is clearly sovereign, anyone saying otherwise is ignoring reality or avoiding offending China.
The US had military bases in Taiwan for 20 years, the military bases were removed to assist with normalizing relations with China.
I can absolutely see why insisting that the US not place military bases on Taiwan is a security concern, but this has nothing to do with the sovereignty of Taiwan. (Similar to US concerns about Russian military installationa in Cuba which were unrelated to Cuba's sovereignty.)
The institutional double-speak around the sovereignty of Taiwan is purely political and has no impact on actual security issues.
The same way every one in every other country on earth deals with the awful things their country does I guess. By ignoring it.
> By that logic, would pro-China people would support China going to war with and taking over other countries if it brought them "economic well-being"?
Looking at world history probably?
To paraphrase your last statement, as long as the US can manage to not destroy their economy completely, the US public will by and large support the government.
Most Americans are angry about the president or some senator. Medicare? FBI? The US Navy / Air Force / Army? The police? Most Americans love those. (When did you last see a group of people asking for the disbanding of the FBI? Heck, for the disbanding of the IRS even.)
In this case, the volume of messages I was reading made clear mainlander disdain for the NBA's perceived position on Hong Kong. (The great irony being that the NBA actually has no position on HK, but just like in the US, that fact does little to stop the outrage machines.) In cases like this, the government tends to sit back, do nothing, and let American entities be embarrassed.
Wait, when did the US kill a political or business leader because of social media pressure?
Also what would happen if crowd pulled HK support en masse, escort out everyone?
It's clear now much of the Chinese leadership were a paper tiger and now that the heat is on, they don't really have a strategy. They just never expect enough people to call them out publicly and embarass them. Maybe they'll keep hold of their own country by suppressing information flow, countrywide surveillance, but whatever power they had over the global economy: severely diminished.
It looks like their debt is only 15% of their GDP? I've heard the China <> Debt thing before and I don't understand it. Could you explain what you mean?
As a result, there are lots of loans on the books that will never be paid off as things stand, and unlike the US there is no mechanism in the financial system to acknowledge any of that on a gradual basis (loan writedowns, etc), so the loans keep being rolled over instead.
At some point, reality will need to be faced, at which point there will be either massive financial system issues, much worse than what the US had going on in 2008, or huge government bailouts. And in the latter case, that implies even more financial repression or taxation, or both, than is already going on, with resulting decreases in economic well-being for urban areas in China, which is the thing that _really_ worries the CCP.
If the economy grows faster than the "bad loan" burden, then this problem is basically temporary, and rolling the loans over until the economy has grown enough to just deal with the issue is the right strategy. It's hard to come by plausibly correct (or even unbiased) estimates of either economic growth or the size of the "bad loan" burden, but almost all the estimates I've seen seem to agree that for a long time the "bad loan" burden was growing faster than the economy. Whether that's still the case, I don't know.
Unfortunately I do think this means we're going to see some action in the South China Sea region. China has problems to deal with in Hong Kong, Taiwan, North Korea, Xinjiang, Tibet, etc. Eventually one of its neighbors is going to get aspirations and will poke the bear. Hopefully China is spread too-thin to deal with it, although that will mean conflict. Violence will be necessary here.
Whatever hopes the borderline pro-China Taiwanese harbored must’ve been shattered by what is happening in Hong Kong this past year.
The true character of China has been revealed: The CCP is power-hungry and don’t feel constrained at all.
I would consider it a fight or die situation in slow motion from here on out.
Even going as far as being able to arrest foreign executives that break those sanctions.
As a bonus, "we" (The West) have recently demonstrated hundreds upon hundreds of examples of free speech being relegated to a distant second to certain "special" feelings our society holds, and now "we" are trying to tell China that their certain special feelings aren't worthy of this level of protection?
If our values mean nothing to us, then there is no reason to be surprised that those values mean just as little to others.
27 years ago Sinead O'Connor ripped up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live when it was broadcast live. She's was arguably right to critize the Pope but was she right to do it from Saturday Night Live's Live broadcast? IIRC because of that incident SNL added a 5 or 10 second delay so they'd have time to cut if something similar happened again.
Anyway, I'm support of the HK protestors and having written that in public now I wonder if I'm banned from China. I also believe I want US businesses to all stick up for freedom of expression and not sell out to China. I'm just saying in the context of using the Blizzard event I'm not so ready to condemn Blizzard's initial response. In the new context of what's happened since then though I hope they change their direction.
IIRC Sinead O'Connor was pretty much universally condemned even though if I understand correctly she was right.
You simply can’t do all that, and then go against democracy and basic human rights like this, and then expect people to not call you out for your bullshit.
That was mysteriously absent from their Chinese servers.
Activision/Blizzard being hypocrites about their stance on human rights has been around for a while - here's a _long_ forum thread from last year about "Blizzard selling out LGBTQ+ to Chinese money".
Throughout the entire existence of WoW they've actively prohibited LGBT community to express themselves in WoW. While they did nothing about virtual RP sex on RP servers.
However I think the response was totally out of scale. They banned the player from competing for a year, rescinded winnings, deleted the VOD of the event, and fired both casters who were interviewing him. Would that have happened if a player on stream said something else political and inflammatory? No way.
Example: https://www.polygon.com/2018/1/20/16913072/overwatch-league-... $2000 fine and a 4 day ban
An $x000 fine and y game suspension is a punishment in line with this offense in literally every professional sports league.
>>>...but was she right to do it from Saturday Night Live's Live broadcast?
If SNL wants to not invite O'Connor back, or cut her from the rest of the show, or yank her off stage, yep it's their show, fair enough. Same with blizzard - they can stop the interview and tell him he doesn't get to say what he wants on their show. I wouldn't exactly be impressed with that, but in general it's their show, their rules.
To take his winnings and ban him from the game is absolute bullshit.
I'd like to play Devil's advocate with your argument, if you'd be interested and willing. Couldn't one say the same thing about Blizzard: "it's their game/tournament, their rules"? They banned him from participating in Hearthstone esports for 1 year. Is the primary distinction that O'Connor doesn't depend on SNL for her livelihood? Would the argument hold if O'Connor were employed by SNL?
When it comes to politics, there are no hard and fast rules. On the one hand, a lot of people look to games for escape from life's problems. It might be reasonable to agree with Blizzard that political speech during a gaming competition isn't appropriate for that reason. On the other hand, entertainment is a form of art, and players are human, through which expression of all forms is interwoven. You can't walk a step in the world of games without stumbling into political expression of some kind.
And sports also fall prey to geopolitics ... in pretty much every match ever held.
Even the "dumbest" action movies made purely for entertainment find a foundation on some good versus evil morality, at least to establish a reason for the ensuing hour and half of thrilling gunfire and explosions. Not many people want to watch their action hero shoot up hundreds of people for no reason at all. We want a "good" hero to shoot up "bad" guys.
So it's all messy. Life is messy. Life is art. Sometimes life/art does something outside of the rules, and it's okay, for no other reason than because it moves people.
So like you I don't feel that Blizzard committed some heinous crime here. But they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That happens; life is messy. What's happening in HK is more important than hard and fast rules.
I'm not sure its okay for China to be maiming and killing protestors while trying to subjugate a city under tyranny,
The reality is that there are not okay things out there, and people often feel helpless against them, and will do things others will feel is not okay to try to get their message across when they feel the okay way isn't working.
And as a global people we should support those that feel, out of desperation, they need to destroy their careers or risk their own safety to try to help others. Its the inverse side of the coin school shooters and terrorism occur on - both are driven to extreme action, but one is sacrificing oneself to try to help others while the other seeks only to destroy for selfish egotism. Both are indicative of systemic issues that need addressed.
The same can’t be said about the current protests in Iraq, Sudan, Indonesia, and Kashmir.
What about many people who got "disappeared" during the protests? We have no way of knowing how many of them are dead, and I bet at least a few of them might be, with the rest just being tortured and imprisoned per usual.
This is how protesting works. It has to be in places people can see and hear. Creating controversy is even better because it gets the media talking about it.
I’d argue this was 1,000 times more effective in spreading a message than taking to the streets.
Interviews are not scripted, the interviewer asks questions but the interviewee says whatever they want. It has always been like this.
A comedy show is in business for fifty years, and the only off-color appearance was a musician with a political opinion? As if we ever needed a demonstration of how bland and conventional SNL really is, regardless of the image they would like to convey.
SNL has had a great number of off-color appearances. Sinead O'Connor was not the reason they added the delay. SNL was already on tape delay by the time she appeared on the show. She slipped past the network censor because they didn't recognize what she was doing until the images had already been broadcast. (Per Wikipedia, she used a different photo during rehearsals. Her stunt was not edited out of the West coast tape-delayed broadcast but was replaced with rehearsal footage in repeats.)
Richard Pryor was the reason that SNL was on tape delay. In fact, per PBS, he's the reason most live broadcasts are on a several second delay. (Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake are the reason that half-time shows at sports events are now also on tape delay.) https://ca.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/6feba07a-e711-40ab-...
While many skits on SNL can be bland and conventional, a great many of their skits are classics. And especially during political cycles, SNL skits can define a political candidate or campaign. (See, e.g., Dan Quayle and spelling, Al Gore and the lockbox, Sarah Palin and seeing Russia, John McCain as himself on SNL.)
Only tangentially related, but morbidly fascinating.
>She's was arguably right to critize the Pope but was she right to do it from Saturday Night Live's Live broadcast?
>I also believe I want US businesses to all stick up for freedom of expression and not sell out to China.
Well this is what happens when our culture is so insistent on upholding capitalism as a virtue. When our best platforms for speaking up are businesses, it's only fair for us to use them like we would any other service that we're paying for (whether directly or through our taxes that fund their allowances, or through our suffering of their practices). Why do people only come to the defense of corporations when the "invisible hand of the market" is punching up?
Small nations and individual companies cannot stand up to this coercion individually, and free, market economies lack the organization to respond in a cohesive way.
The optimistic belief that economic growth and market integration would liberalize authoritarian or totalitarian countries should by now be wholly debunked.
The CCP is responsible for some of the most horrific atrocities and violations of human rights today, and has largely managed to silence the world from even speaking out against its actions.
Individuals should do everything they can to express their opposition to this state of affairs, but the only viable response is for the governments of free peoples who care for and value these freedoms to jointly act in response.
If we value freedom over money, there must be economic consequences (including economic isolation) for China for its actions, and we should not be reluctant about promoting these freedoms globally, including within China.
The GATT and WTO rules in place today are not sufficient to counter the threat China represents. It's time to rewrite the rules of global trade to prevent the CCP from freely benefiting from trade while simultaneously using it as a hammer to blunt and distort the values that enabled the markets from which it benefits.
Power over whom?
US Companies? It depends on the context: how damaging would a strike be, and how much of the important people can you get to join?
In the context of pro gaming, I have serious doubts that any union is viable outside games with a franchise model. There are just too many hungry people and too few spots at the top to ever have a meaningful strike.
Even with a franchise, the result of a Union forming may just be the dissolving of the franchise model (or the failure of the game as an esport) rather than the Union achieving political power.
Yes, but the belief that the market/capitalism can enforce a set of values, good and bad, lives on.
Blizzard, the NBA, all of these organizations know this and will find a way to make it right that doesn't turn off the money.
That would never happen, anyway. That's the real power of money.
Would Blizzard give up such a segment to let some dudes make a few loud comments?
Mainland China is currently governed by the People's Republic of China (PRC).
Both governments consider themselves "China". They consider the other government as an illegitimate entity occupying territory illegally.
The PRC refuses to deal with any nation that treats the ROC as a nation. That means it is not recognized by the UN, the Olympic committee, etc. If you make any sort of inference that the island of Taiwan is not the territory of and under the control of the PRC, they will flat out drop your ass.
The compromise is "Chinese Taipei". Because "Taiwan" sounds too much like its own nation to the PRC and "Taiwan, China" sounds too much like a subordinate of the PRC to the ROC.
So it's not Blizzard that's insisting the team be called Chinese Taipei, it's the PRC and ROC. Although, they'd much rather the other government not exist.
Not counting the U.S. media, of course!
I expect Blizzard to follow suit.
At first they banned it, then after some consideration they temporarily unbanned it. (Temporarily, because the league said they will reconsider its flag rules in the off-season.)
It really becomes a problem when teams and players do it, and even more in international settings. Hence FIGA's rule, which is aimed at keeping the game neutral and an inclusive sport.
It's not until Kotick, Morhaime (Blizzard co-founder) and Allen Brack (President) start feeling the heat will they reverse course.
Apple has tried very hard to appease both sides, and if they suffer for it, it's their own fault.
In this particular situation, I'd say:
- China is wrong to suppress free expression of HKers, and furthermore I believe it's incumbent upon HKers to assert their, as I see it through the lens of my culture, natural born right to that expression.
- Blizzard and the NBA are wrong to discourage the expression of its employees or associates on this particular matter (supporting another culture asserting values like our own), but those harmed do not have the same recourse as a citizen would against their government (with the obvious exceptions of protected classes, which I'm not sure applies here, IANAL). There is only market recourse, aka boycott⁎, or potentially government regulation to protect political speech in the workplace (not sure if that already exists, but it sounds like a dangerous path to me as all kinds of wacky shit could be claimed to be political).
⁎ It strikes me that an embargo or sanction is a kind of political boycott, is that what you'd like to see? Because I'm not outright opposed to a government curtailing business with other governments that refuse to share foundational values. But this is a tricky road too because it basically leads to the kinds of debates like those made to refuse service to PoC or LGBT communities. In the US we have the SCOTUS to help decide those questions, what is the global analogue?
CCP is what is industrializing the country. There's not a single person in the West who is not a recent immigrant that lived in a pre-industrial society. In this case Chinese population supports CCP because between supporting some rich special people in HK protesting something and not going back to working the fields with bare hands, HK protesters lose.
West is ought to understand it.
These are not made up stories. Chinese population remembers about having finally electricity everywhere and moving from working farm fields to maybe getting a job in a factory and not using outhouses. There are over a billion of them.
HK population remembers being a special people with British institutions. There are 7.4 million of them.
Or is it just a matter of "we suffered, so they have to suffer"?
Chinese population (by an overwhelming majority) views HK protesters as rich ungrateful bitches throwing a tempter tantrum.
HK population views mainland Chinese as the unwashed masses that are trying to take away what HK population thinks is rightfully theirs.
The numbers are not on the side of HK. The West is ought to understand that there's HK protesters do not have a winning hand, even with the support from the West.
Freedom of speech is what the US Constitution guarantees. It says the government cannot limit people's ability to speak their mind, and cannot punish people for speaking their mind. Note that it says nothing about what private entities can do, especially on platforms they own and operate.
"Free speech", as exercised nowadays (mostly) by conservatives who complain about being "silenced", is the (in my opinion ridiculous) idea that one should be able to say anything they want without any consequences whatsoever, and that they are entitled to any platform they choose to spread that message. These are the same people who advocate for a "marketplace of ideas", but get bent out of shape when that marketplace reacts negatively to their opinions.
In my opinion, we need to rid ourselves of the idea that all ideas are equally valid and deserve equal amounts of airtime and consideration. Furthermore, it is okay to completely dismiss certain ideas on their total lack of merit, and furthermore take (private) action to prevent their spread. For example if I post on this site that "all people of <insert ethnicity> need to be exterminated" it would be completely okay for others here to downvote/flag my post (i.e. "censorship") and for HN to ban me (i.e. "de-platforming").
Conservatives tried this too, recruiting the aid of the government to fight against obscenity, Communism, etc. And they lost that battle in the end.
(I assume you follow FIRE, and know that this problem isn't contained to the "speech is violence" people; there are numerous right-wing attempts at suppression on campus as well.)
As to your second point, FIRE tends to advocate for free speech on campus generally, including private schools. A lot of the right-wing attempts at suppressing speech happen at places like private religious schools (Duquensque and Georgetown are two top posts in the FIRE website). I tend to stop short of that—I think private schools are free to restrict speech in ways public schools are not. But, as I said in my post, attempts to suppress speech have historically been a right wing phenomenon.
What would you call this event? The genocide of ideas (by the righteous)?
Who decides which ideas are invalid or lack merit? Is there a social credit system to value / devalue those with ideas and prevent them from transmitting them?
At what point does it extend from the online world into every day life?
What happens to those people when they can't express themselves online or in real life?
Do you see where I'm going with this?
That said, I think that China's efforts - by using companies as their proxies - are being much more effective.
Absolutely. They’re beating us at our own game and revealing that American values were never freedom and democracy - those are just ways we think are good to make money. If a better system comes along we’re the first to jump on it.
What in the heck are you talking about? No one is jumping ship on these values anytime soon.
The actions of corporations trying to make money in countries that don't share those values are subject to open criticism in the press and wherever one cares to air them. If you want to punish companies that seem to be undermining those values (such as Activision/Blizzard in this case), you remain free to do that.
The backlash against Blizzard is an example of that happening.
Modern communication between individuals relies on the internet. Even the government has acknowledged this, insisting that all of their services are available online.
All spaces for communication on the internet (including elements as low as DNS and hosting) rely on private companies.
Private companies can and do take censorious actions based on values that, at best, are layered upon the values of the country that the company operates in. However, at worst, the company's values need not have any relation to those of the countries they operate in.
Thus, the individual's freedom to express their thoughts relies on their thoughts not being censored by private companies. If one of the many companies that you depend upon for communication decides to not let you express that thought, you are unable to express that thought.
Of course, this applies to the internet and not government-owned meat-space, but government-managed meat-space is not where this communication is occurring. Particularly around the incident in Hong Kong.
Ideally 1A protections would be seen as something of a bare minimum, rather than the highest level of protection people could ever dream of enjoying.
This doesn’t mean much if they don’t use this power and instead publish random bullshit. The western way has never been censorship, it’s been straight up lying.
If anything, it shows just how well freedom and democracy works in America despite how many conflicting ideologies exist in our nation, compared to any other country.
Dunno about you, but I draw the opposite conclusion. The reaction so far has made it clear that a lot of Americans value freedom and democracy, and that they see these corporate actions as unacceptable.
Embargoes are the exception, not the rule, and they are not used as a means to enforce political speech. It'll be a cold day in hell before I try to defend the foreign policy tactics of the United States, but to pretend that a business embargo on a select few countries constitutes something on the order of the Chinese stranglehold on business in their country is just false.
I recommend reading manufacturing consent. Censorship is entirely unnecessary and you hit on the core social mechanism there.
I wonder how that would have gone at the height of McCarthyism.
Spitballing some historical fiction for the admittedly bizarre editorial? There would have been a public hue and cry. The editor who published the opinion piece would have lost their job, heads would have rolled (figuratively, not literally) in the WSJ editorial board.
The person who wrote the editorial would have had a bad time in the public sphere (they still would).
The author of the editorial would almost certainly not have gone to jail or been arrested, tortured, or executed, nor would they have lost their property or business, nor would their family. Nor would the editor who published the editorial.
If the author had been a government employee, they probably would have lost their job. If they were a high-profile public persona (an actor, for example), they probably would have been blacklisted.
But to be clear, that would be the worst of it - even during an extraordinary period of paranoia and fear.
If you believe otherwise, dig up some historical precedent to support the argument.
For the record: I do not think the United States of America is a just country in many regards, but if you're going to complain about injustice, at least get the facts straight.
(Edit: I'm just so puzzled by the bizarre false equivalence on this issue. It's like suggesting that Norway and the United States have the same track record on public healthcare because the Norwegian state health plan stopped covering acupuncture from 1985-1990 (imaginary example). They don't have the same track record, it's not close, slapping some words together on the internet doesn't make it so.)
The public pressure to adopt a particular line was comparable. The consequences for a company or personality not adopting a similar line were, and often still are "tied 100% to the approval or disapproval" which sees someone step down after a foolish quote.
Hundreds were imprisoned during the McCarthy era, so that's not an unreachable stretch either. It's not unthinkable.
To your edit: The equivalence is the equal pressure to conform (to the views of China / the prevailing views of the US), with similar consequences. The main difference is that a US corporation is conforming to an international view - because of that market, along with the speed that pressure can build via the internet.
Not sure if shareholders care...
I think people don't really care about what Nestlé or Monsanto do because they've never really cared about those companies, but people care about Blizzard.
At least I want to believe I am working for one
Money and market access >
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21204717.
> Unless, as I said, you are implying that
It would be the same if your comment had put Trump in a bad light or any other divisive figure in a good light or a bad light. I know it's hard, when you get a moderation reply, not to interpret it as the mods secretly being on the other side of the argument from you, but however natural it is, that reaction is incorrect.
Edit: Please remember that only negative comments regarding President Trump are allowed in this political discussion about free speech.
You might also find these links helpful for getting the spirit of this site:
The question asked was about US leadership doing something about this problem. The comment was immediately discounted using dismissive language (by you) implying that there is no evidence, while providing none yourself.
Now you've chosen to tie it off with a condescending link to rules you've chosen to selectively enforce under the guise of being "constructive".
The current president has been doing things to resist the power the CCP has over our economy: https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/trump-us-chi...
Would you mind familiarizing yourself a bit more with how HN works? The links I posted upthread are a good place to start.
A broken clock is right twice a day.
A broken clock is right twice a day
China can do whatever they want, Blizzard, the NBA, and others are voluntarily appeasing China (or act like they are trying to do so) and tossing their carefully developed facade of supporting human and civil rights out the window.
In contrast, Adobe is following a US law.
Also, with respect to both countries, we aren't trying to use our US economic power to force a Venezuelan or Cuban company to do what we want.
The US government has made its stance toward both countries clear for the last several decades, it's not like they tricked US businesses into going into Venezuela or Cuba and then tried to pull the rug out from beneath them.
>If you purchased your products directly with Adobe, you will receive a refund before the end of the month for any license period paid and not received. We are working for our distributors to act in the same way.
From my perspective, outside of the US and China, both are overreaching quite a bit.
Though it should be noted that the US has not been shy of such violations itself, and with them earned itself quite a bit of ill will - Venezuela is just not such a case.
I'd be interested in seeing how a lawsuit plays out.
But it's not a matter of whether or not this was a legal move or not, it's the intent and what it has shed light onto that is the actual real problem.
China is controlling our media and it is becoming harder and harder to ignore. Companies have to watch their step when saying anything because if China, for god knows what reason, decides that something that comes from you does not fall in line with their ideology, be it a line of dialogue in your movie, or a flag in a videogame, or a winning player's speech in this case... Well, good luck without that chinese market.
It could mean death for some companies, so everyone does their best to try to avoid the issue altogether. Now it's fairly easy to do so, but what about the future? Is this not alarming?
Sure, keep politics out of games. Let's keep it out of movies as well. And books. Let's not talk about politics altogheter, not even on social media, or China might decide that the company you're working for does not get to work with them until they fire you.
It might sound exaggerated and reeks of slippery-slope fallacy. Is it? Personally, I think not.
This has to stop.
> Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
So, did Congress of the USA have to do anything about it? No, "free speech" does not mean you can say anything you want without facing consequences from people who hired you or your friends. Blizzard hired player to play in tournament, and they can fire him if they want. There is nothing illegal in Blizzard's actions.
The only ones that hold these sorts of views are the ones with nothing interesting to say.
>The only ones that hold these sorts of views are the ones with nothing interesting to say.
I'm confused by your response; what is it you are trying to say?
They were making a legal description of why the 1st amendment doesn't prevent a private entity from censoring; not a moral one.
From a legal perspective, they are right. The constitution prevents the government (and only the government) from restricting speech.
If this guy was going to jail or being fined by the US Government because he said FreeHK, then that would be a rights violation.
He isn't going to jail; so, now it is up to the terms of his contract with Blizzard/EA as to whether there is a Civil or Criminal legal violation (and any applicable labor laws in whatever jurisdiction can be applied); and even if there is a legal violation, that would be a contract law issue and not a rights law issue (or a local labor law issue).
To me, it sounded like you were judging the previous poster as if he was making a moral defense of Blizzard/EAs actions.
While skipping the section of his email where he alluded to their actions being immoral -- thus doing the same thing to them that you are claiming I did to you.
Whether that applies to the poster in question or not, I couldn't tell you.
EEOC makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin; why can't political views and speech said outside of the workplace be a part of that?
Free speech protects you from the government, not your peers.
So, yeah, I'm pretty sure he violated that. And Blizzard's response has too. It's really just a catch-all trivial to violate provision.
As a separate note, the player and hosts would likely be considered to be contractors, not employees.
If you try to sue someone for violating a law that doesn't exist, they will make a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, and the judge will throw out the lawsuit.
That's not to say it is right or acceptable, but it isn't illegal.
Like Colin Kaepernick? That just happened like 3 years ago, has everyone already forgotten?
He suspects he was blacklisted by owners/NFL by not being signed in free agency, but that may be difficult to prove.
EDIT: It seems like official NFL policy has varied drastically over the past few years. But even if its not necessarily by official policy, you can bet that players are intimidated by the calls of the sitting US President to fire them if they kneel out of line.
(since such laws are a state thing, not a US thing)
I can say all of this without fear of recrimination from my government. I'm enrolled in TSA Precheck, never harassed by the police, can move freely within the country, and am free to buy or view whatever I like in spite of my lack of support for that part of our national government. One of our founding fathers is famously quoted as saying "I do not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." We take that statement as gospel. For us to censor our citizens is an affront to our national dignity.
Can you say that the student protests in Tianenmen Square were met with a police response that was massive overkill? Or that attempts to censor Hong Kong's free speech are unacceptable? Or that free speech against your government is an inalienable right? Because if not then there's not really much similarity between the US and China despite how it may seem to you.
As a US citizen, please talk about 9/11. The response Americans had in the wake of that tragedy is reprehensible - the entire country gave unanimous support to the government to commit war crimes in nations around the world - including our own. Torture, illegal detainment, wars founded on lies to make private contractors rich, expansive laws like the Patriot Act, NDAA expansions, and establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, all of which grossly violate civil liberties and privacy.
The rest of the world should criticize America for 9/11, for being responsible for the destabilization of countries that led to such a degree of organized terror in the decades leading up to it, as much as we should be criticized for the heinous acts domestically and abroad committed in response to it (or at least, that were excused by it).
He's referring to this.
China (CCP) is trying to destroy freedom in HK. The HK people do not want to lose their freedom. To many in democratic societies what is happening in HK is our worst nightmare.
After 9/11, there were Americans that made implied or overt statements that the US caused or deserved 9/11. Many of them were suppressed (none were jailed) or protested against by government and citizens alike. Some were not.
Now, years later, many more rightly or wrongly suggest without consequence that the actions of the US led to 9/11 or the US deserved it.
edit: removed word
There are thousands of videos about 9/11, hundreds of TV programmes, millions and millions of posts online. People only got tired of it after a decade of very vigurous debates where outright crank views were seriously considered. Memes about jet fuel that cannot melt steel beams still go around today.
And 9/11 was a savage terrorist attack. Where is this silly comparison to a totalitarian state censoring a gamer (and Winnie the Pooh) while trying to absorb Hong Kong coming from?
I'm not sure what you mean by this. In the United States there is a completely unregulated cottage industry disseminating all sorts of misinformation and conspiracy theories about 9/11. There are people who make a living doing this.
First, as pvg said, a massive protest is not analogous to 9/11.
But, let's put even that aside for a moment, and pretend that they are analogous. The more proper analogy is this: Pretend that after 9/11, a Malaysian singer working for a Chinese recording company made the comment you suggested, and Americans got upset with it, put pressure on the Chinese company that the star belonged to (because the Chinese company was going to lose support and profits from American audience), and the Chinese company fired the Malaysian star.
You're ok with this? You think the Chinese company bending over backwards to please the American people to keep their revenue stream, is entirely fine? Considering the Malaysian star's political opinion is even aligned with your own country's?
I mean, what if these prominent contemporary voices support 911?
One of the leaders of an actual US separatist movement has schools and streets named after him.
If some foreign terrorist blows up a building in Beijing, do you think China would want other nations to stop talking about it?
Your whataboutism about the US and 9/11 isn't even on target. No one here is particularly upset if you talk about it, except maybe the more jingoistic sort when you start pointing out that the damage we did to ourselves in response with respect to civil liberties was perhaps greater than the damage OBL & co ever dreamed of doing with a few airplanes.
Imagine a well-known person, just days after 911, publicly declaring that 911 was a great recovery operation.
Contrast this to China what do you think would happen? The irony of you bringing all this up as some kind of counterpoint is strange.
The problem is that these brands also want the brownie points. So they'll cherry pick safe policies to loudly support when it doesn't negatively affect their bottom line, but stay quiet when it does, making them look like hypocrites and pissing off everyone.
But they MUST. That’s the issue. There is no such thing as remaining neutral.
What could they do? Ban the player to make China happy? Now the west is mad and boycotting.
NOT ban the player? Now China is pissed and kicking you out of the country.
They were damned by someone either way. There was no neutral political stance they could take. International politics is just setup that way. Total neutrality doesn’t exist on that stage.
It's hard to deny that there would be a much smaller PR issue here if the player had been prevented from voicing any opinion on Hong Kong in the first place.
Then what is the right answer? HK independence?
>There is no such thing as remaining neutral.
Of course there is! What does it mean to NOT remain neutral? What position should a corporation take and which controversial topics? How about the IOC? Or FIFA? Or some charity? Or the EU? I don't see European nations, for example, taking any steps to challenge China. I don't see the public boycotting Chinese goods. Why would you expect a video game company to do so?
Do you honestly want a video game company to take a position on every single controversial topic .... of which there are thousands? Or only on the ones that you find particularly important?
>What could they do? Ban the player to make China happy?
No. Ban the player not to make China happy but because he brought politics into a neutral sporting event. The same thing that NFL and NBA did with players kneeling during the anthem because it pissed off half their fanbase.
In both those cases, though, that's still taking an action that supports one side and affronts the other. "Staying out of politics" could arguably lead to making s short statement "the NFL takes no league-wide position on players kneeling during the anthem" and taking no action. And: "As a company, Blizzard takes no position on politics and the viewpoints players express are their own," followed by taking no action.
And, of course, there's an argument to be made that even doing that is effectively "taking a side," right? Because your (lack of) action still implicitly supports one side and affronts the other. Maybe letting players kneel during the anthem does piss off half your fan base, but explicitly banning them from kneeling pisses off the other half of your fan base.
As much as Rush lyrics may be the last refuge of scoundrels, there's a lot of truth in "if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."
No. That is insane.
Being neutral is not the same as taking an action. I know we live in a twitter world where everything is black or white but you don't get to create a false dichotomy of "you're either with me or against me" - there is always a third choice of "I refuse to get involved".
>Staying out of politics" could arguably lead to making s short statement "the NFL takes no league-wide position on players kneeling during the anthem" and taking no action. And: "As a company, Blizzard takes no position on politics and the viewpoints players express are their own," followed by taking no action.
You're parsing out meanings from words that aren't there. Sure Blizzard could have done nothing, but they did decide that their platform shouldn't be used to espouse political messages, even ones they may privately agree with. If you want to be pedantic that's 'taking an action', but the action is NOT "I support China", nor "I support Hong Kong protestors", but rather, "I have no position on the matter because I'm a video game company that is interested in selling video games and running StarCraft tournaments".
Why are you so intent on creating a division where there is none and forcing everyone to choose a side?
No, there is not. At least, not any longer. The moment a company dips their toes into the Chinese market they are getting into bed with an oppressive, authoritarian regime who dictates the rules of conduct. This on turn forces companies like Blizzard to play along with the CCP lest they lose revenue.
There is no neutral; the CCP forces you to chose a side, and Blizzard chose as soon as they entered the Chinese market.
And what does it mean for YOU to buy chinese or chinese-made products, or products made by companies that also sell in China. Are you in bed with the CCP?
>There is no neutral;
Yes there is. Why are you so intent on forcing a false dichotomy?
I don't have a strong opinion on what's happening in Hong Kong and I was actually in HK during the July protests. The city looked like any other city with people doing regular city things like shopping, taking the subway and going to work. How am I supposed to take a side when I don't even know what the population of HK (not just the protestors) actually want. Any position I take will be out of ignorance, is that better than being neutral?
I would also argue that corporations are subject to moral constraints, and sometimes, they should do the right thing--even if it hurts their bottom line.
Also forcing political neutrality hurts those who are oppressed. The dominant force will never need to protest or introduce politics into a surprising area because the dominant force has no need to protest. Only those who suffer need to protest and inconvenience the majority in order to make their plight known (see civil rights movement amongst other things).
That's the question. Why did they do it in the first place? They could have not banned the player.
But that was the right decision. The player politicized their neutral platform. The NBA fined players that wouldn't stand for the anthem for the same reason.
Standing for the national anthem is not a politically neutral action. FORCING players to stand for the national anthem is not a politically neutral action.
It's common, but that doesn't mean it's neutral.
Oh brother ... but OK.
The NBA went through something like this. Their policies called for standing for the anthem if you're out on the court while the anthem is playing (i.e. and cameras are rolling, and fans are watching). If you happen to have an objection to this, then you are welcome to stay in the locker room for the duration of the anthem and come out after.
I think that's entirely fair. You don't get to politicize a neutral platform, and you also aren't forced to do anything you morally object to.
The NFL doesn't care about Trump. The NFL fined kneeling players because it pissed off half their fanbase and viewership numbers went down.
It doesn’t have to be so polarizing: if I make an effort to value our constitution, I expect at least the corporations that impact and influence our society to too. If I don’t like it, I start a dialogue to change it - but I certainly don’t censor or violate the rights of others.
Because it's indicative of this armchair general/keyboard warrior mentality where you sure as heck as strong opinions online which have no impact on your life, but you're not willing to sacrifice one iota of your personal comfort to actually live what you espouse.
For some reason you want companies to exit China or get involved in internal Chinese politics but you're perfectly willing to keep buying chinese or chinese-made products - because it would be too hard to boycott them and have it actually impact your life.
Stepping back, you see the same thing at the national level. You're criticizing a VIDEO GAME company for wanting to stay neutral, but you aren't calling for European nations or your country to recall their ambassadors from China to breaking relations? It's indicative.
Corporations exist to create products and services. That's what they are good at. You do not want to push social policy.